Wednesday, May 18, 2011

North Carolina Scallops

A very soft place exists in my heart for scallops, and somehow after this particular batch, it just got a bit softer. Frank from Saturday market is back in action with his seafood catch from Kitty Hawk, much to my scallop loving delight. Usually, I like to sear them with white wine, butter, lemon, garlic, etc, but this time I decided on butter and butter only as the main accompaniment. Best I've ever had. As the heat from the buttery pan mingled with the scallop's briny juices, a golden, caramelized crust was born. These were some of the sweetest, freshest scallops to ever pass my lips.
All I can think about during a meal like this is what a fantastic mystery the sea is, abundant with gifts more delightful than I am capable of imagining. It's hard not to get poetic after such a meal. Thank you Frank!

North Carolina Scallops:
*1 pound fresh scallops
*3-4 Tablespoons sweet cream butter
*sea salt and pepper
*lemon wedges

Rinse scallops thoroughly under cold running water. Dry completely with paper towels. This is important. Place a medium cast iron pan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of butter. Place about 6 scallops (enough to avoid over crowding the pan) in the heated pan, turning once halfway through. Lightly season with sea salt and pepper while searing. Sear until just done, when scallop still springs back when touched. Do not over cook.
Repeat with remaining scallops calling on more butter if needed.
Serve hot with lemon wedges.

A Bit of Scallop Symbolism:
The scallop shell is the well known symbol of St. James. Often, Christians would wear the symbol of a scallop shell on their clothing during pilgrimages to the apostle's shrine in Spain. In addition, the pilgrim would travel with a scallop shell, presenting it at churches, households and abbyes along the way, expecting to receive enough provisions to fill one scoop.

Venus, the Roman goddess of love and fertility, was often depicted alongside a scallop shell due to its history as a symbol of female fertility. You can clearly see an example of this in Botticelli's The Birth of Venus (a beautiful painting) also known as Venus on the half-shell.

And for the Nutritional Facts:
It is interesting that the scallop shell historically symbolizes fertility given that eating shellfish (such as scallops) is considered one of the top foods for fertility health. Scallops are very low in saturated fat while remaining high in vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, copper, protein, selenium, phosphorus, important natural cholesterol, and trace minerals. And as a personal note: anything that tastes this good can be considered an aphrodisiac in my book, a precursor to achieving optimum fertility in the first place.

This post was submitted to Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday Blog Carnival. Visit her site to view heaps of real food recipes from across cyberspace, fresh each wednesday.


  1. Looks very yummy! I've found myself buying more scallops myself lately so your recipe caught my eye! Also that I am in North Carolina too. My site is

  2. Yum, can't wait to give them a try.

  3. You surprised me with that racy tidbit at the end... Scallops are the only shellfish I can comfortably accomodate. (Damn s modern picky American eaters!)

  4. Wow and Wow!

    Anne and I are scallops-crazy.

    What a perfectly simple recipe... like ground pepper (no marinade, no salt) on a great grass-fed steak.

    Thanks Girl!